EU Issues New Guidelines for Migrant Benefits

Bulgaria in EU | January 12, 2014, Sunday // 17:12|  views

EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor, photo by EPA/BGNES

The European Union issued Sunday new guidelines for social benefits for migrants against the backdrop of fears of benefit tourism from poorer countries.

The abolition of labor restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals as of January 2014 stoked up the debate on welfare abuse in large parts of Western Europe.

The practical guide prepared by the European Commission aims to clarify the concept of habitual residence, which helps determine where a non-employed person living in an EU member state other than their own can claim social security, according to reports of DPA.

The guide lists the criteria involved, including family status, length of stay, income sources, pattern of employment and where the person in question pays taxes, among other things.

"There are clear safeguards in EU law to prevent people from abusing social welfare systems of other EU countries," EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said in a statement.

"This guide will make it easier for member states' authorities to apply the 'habitual residence' safeguards in practice," he noted, adding that the handbook was part of the EC's measures aimed at facilitating the free movement of people throughout the EU.

Andor is to present the guide at a press conference in Brussels on Monday.

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Tags: Lazslo Andor, EU Commissioner, social benefits, migrant workers, migrant influx, labor restrictions, EU member states, benefit tourism, welfare system


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